NSW HEALTH VISITING UPDATE

The Public Health Order we have been waiting for is still not available however yesterday we received updated advice from NSW Health about visiting in aged care facilities.  The link to this advice is attached for your information https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/aged-care.aspx

In summary, effective from Monday 11 October 2021 the advice is:

  • 2 fully vaccinated visitors per resident, per day can visit.  The visitors must be over the age of 12
  • The second dose of each visitor’s COVID vaccine must have been given at least 14 days prior to entering the facility 
  • All visitors must wear a surgical mask
  • Visits must occur in the resident’s room or outside

BCAC APPROACH TO CHANGES IN THE COMMUNITY RESTRICTIONS FROM 11 OCTOBER 2021

BCAC will adopt a similar methodology to the NSW government of easing into the new way of living with COVID.  We will use three factors to assist us in our decision making:

  1. Current health advice
  2. Resident’s and family wishes
  3. Workload of staff and cost to the organisation

We recognise the long period of time since families have seen loved ones and we want to do everything possible to make it easy for visiting our homes. However, we need to balance this with the health advice and needs of the organisation.

At our larger homes it is feasible that if every resident had 2 visitors each day this would mean an additional 250-300 people entering the site.  We don’t anticipate this volume of visitors on a daily basis but we do expect, in the first few weeks of visiting being reintroduced, that we will see reasonably high numbers.  To accommodate this, and to avoid bottlenecks at the entry screening point, we will be using an online booking system for the period 11 October – 24 October and we will be able to accommodate the screening of  10-12 visitors in every 15 minute timeslot.  

We expect as the vaccination rates in NSW increase, the health advice to aged care providers will also change and we will need to change our visiting process and entry screening times accordingly.

VISITOR ENTRY SCREENING DAYS/TIMES/REQUIREMENTS

From Monday 11 October – Sunday 24 October we will offer visitor screening times during the following times:

Monday 10am 4pm

Tuesday 10am – 4pm

Thursday 10am – 7pm

Friday 10am-4pm

Saturday 10am -2pm

We will review the days and times in 2 weeks in line with health advice.

Each visitor will need to:

  1. Book a time on line via the BCAC website to be screened prior to visiting a resident
  2. Come to reception at the village and complete a declaration that you have no symptoms, have not been to a location of concern etc.  To speed up the process you can download this from our website, complete this form at home and bring it with you.  A new declaration is required for each visit.
  3. Scan in using the Service NSW QR code.  This is a mandatory government requirement for all businesses.
  4. Show evidence that your second vaccination was given to you at least 14 days prior to the day you are visiting.  This is a requirement imposed by NSW Health
  5. Have your temperature taken.
  6. You will need to bring a surgical mask to wear for the duration of your visit, including if you are outside.
  7. Maintain social distancing and use hand sanitiser prior to entering and on leaving a residents room

 HOW TO BOOK A VISIT

  1. On the BCAC website, select “Our Services” then “Residential Care”
  2. Scroll Down to find the Village you will be visiting.
  3. Then continue to scroll down to the “Online Booking System” section
  4. Select from the available dates and times.
  5. Complete the required mandatory Contact Details and then select “Complete Appointment”.
  6. You will then receive a confirmation email of your booking.

 PROTECTING UNVACCINTED RESIDENTS

Approximately 10% of our residents are unvaccinated due to a medical condition which prevented them from being vaccinated.  Some unvaccinated residents have already indicated they wish to limit their visiting list to a very small group of family and friends and have informed their families of their wishes. We will respect the wishes of all residents.

ESSENTAIL CARING VISITS

If you have been approved by the Public Health Unit to visit for essential care reasons there will be no change in this arrangement.  You will not need to book on line but you will need to meet all the other requirements of other visitors.  

HAIRDRESSING

In line with the community changes, on 11 October hairdressers can return to providing services provided the required 4sq m rule can be observed.  The hairdressers must be fully vaccinated and all clients of the hairdresser must also be fully vaccinated.  We are seeking advice if a hairdresser can provide services to unvaccinated residents and will advise you when the information is received from the Public Health Unit.

Booking for hairdressing services at each village can now be made for all vaccinated residents.

RESIDENTS WANTING TO LEAVE THE VILLAGE FOR FAMILY OUTINGS

More advice will be provided to families and residents early next week once we have clarified a few small points with the Public Health Unit.  We also want the opportunity to review the Public Health Orders, that have not been released yet, to help inform our process for keeping everyone safe.

 Our Managers, Care Managers and RN’s will be available to answer any questions you may have, seek feedback from you on any subtle changes you may have noticed in your relative when you visit and to provide you with any information you need. 

We are very excited about receiving visitors back in the villages as we recognise how important connection is to our residents’ wellbeing.  Technology, such as phones and iPads, have served their purpose in keeping everyone connected during the lockdown but they can’t replace the warmth of seeing someone that we care about, in person.   I have received some lovely emails from families telling me how excited they are to be able to see their loved one and I hope you all enjoy reconnecting in person.

As always, we are committed to keeping everyone safe and informed and I will update you next week with the issues I have mentioned in this newsletter that are unresolved.

Stay safe and enjoy your weekend.